News

Name game is kid stuff

By MIKE HALLIDAY

The Mirror

Well, kids, you get one more shot to name the new middle school.

The Federal Way School Board opted to not select a name for the $17 million school going up on South 360th Street after an emotional meeting Tuesday.

The 3-2 decision by the board will allow the community to submit names to the board. Those will be considered at the next board meeting –– April 26 –– and the board will decide on a group of names for students to select from.

Board member Charles Hoff said he expects the results in four to six weeks after the votes are tabulated.

Hoff –– who voted with Evelyn Castellar and Ed Barney to start over and invite more suggestions from the public –– said the board will go with the name the students select this time.

The school name debate boiled down to two sides Tuesday. A group led by a middle school student supported the name of Patrick Maher, a slain Federal Way Police officer. The other group was the family of Robert Satiacum, a former chief of the Puyallup tribe and Native American activist. Satiacum's name came attached with controversy, because he was found guilty of federal racketeering charges. He fled to Canada and died there more than a decade ago.

But the board never favored either option. Members noted those choices plus the ones presented by the middle school's planning staff didn't follow district policy for naming middle schools. The name is supposed to be people, places or events from Native American literature.

After asking for names from the community and students, the planning staff narrowed the list and sent several names to students who will attend the school this fall. They chose "Mesika" and "Klahanie," which mean "you, your or yours" and "out of doors," respectively. The board rejected those names, saying they didn't meet the policy.

Satiacum's family withdrew his name Tuesday and put their support behind the Maher campaign.

Several people trounced the board over the issue, saying the elected officials should have made a decision.

Staff writer Mike Halliday: 925-5565, mhalliday@fedwaymirror.com

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